Wednesday, May 22, 2019

All for One, One for All, All for All

It is the division of society into property owners and propertyless people which lies at the root of the crisis of the capitalist world. One of the fundamental. truths which a study of socialism teaches, and it is a basic principle, is the existence of the class struggle. This class struggle is based upon the antagonism of interests between the propertyless working class, who are forced to sell their energy in order to live, and the property-owning master class.

Millions of workers extract raw material from the earth. They own neither the land nor the machinery they use, nor the products they raise. Millions of other workers manufacture the raw materials into finished products. They own neither the machinery they use nor the products they manufacture. These are the property of the capitalists and the landlords. The vast majority of people in society to-day are thus at the mercy of the private owners. They cannot organise the distribution of the wealth which they and their comrades have co-operated to produce, because they do not possess this wealth. It is the property of the private owners. 

Here is to be found the fundamental reason why the socially necessary goods are obtainable only in the market-place as commodities. The private property owners have no other means for the disposal of the goods others have made for them. They cannot give the goods to society, for that would be an abandonment of the right of private property to extract profit. They cannot distribute the goods according to the needs of the people, however vast and urgent those needs may be, because private property production is governed by the law of production for profit irrespective of the needs of the people. The criterion of all capitalist enterprise is—does it make a profit? When it ceases to make a profit it goes bankrupt—it is finished and the workers are cast on to the scrapheap of unemployment. Capitalism is one big gamble. Since its fortunes hang on the tail of its unpredictable market, it can never be sure of what to do to secure its own interests. The great tragedy is that the gambles are always paid off in working class lives and their insecurity.

People tell us, we will have socialism, but the world is not ready for it yet. They argue with us that they are being “realistic.” We say they’re not being realistic and their position isn’t coherent. Other critics of our position are merely cynics. The cynic thinks everyone is stupid. They accuse their fellow workers of never being ready for socialism because they’re mean spirited as well as stupid. They don’t want other people to have decent lives, they want people to suffer, they want it so much that they will allow that desire to over-ride their own individual self-interest. Most people don’t realise the socialist ideas they oppose are in their own interest. Believing that one day we will get socialism even though people who like the idea but nevertheless are unwilling to vote for socialists is not simply unrealistic – it’s fantastic. It’s downright delusional. For the proponents of lesser evilism, winning is everything. There is hardly anything more shameful after all, than losing. Even cheating is acceptable if the cheater manages to win. Lesser evil supporters are cowards, people who are incapable of seeing the incoherence in voting for someone who opposes things they profess to want, while persisting in believing that we will one day get these things anyway, without having to vote for the party who seeks them. If people want socialism, then they’re going to have to vote for candidates who advocate it, rather than for candidates who oppose it. It takes more than one person or one party to change the world.

There is no need to attach an adjective to the word "Capitalism", as in "Casino Capitalism" "Crony Capitalism", "Neo-Liberal Capitalism", "Financial Capitalism", "Disaster Capitalism", "Shock Capitalism", "Unregulated Capitalism", "Private-Equity Capitalism," or that old standby, "Greedy Capitalism". It is Capitalism, pure and simple. There is no such thing as “Compassionate Capitalism”. The vision of the world’s future appears completely dystopian and has descended into the dark abyss where the unimaginable has become imaginable. The politics of terror and the culture of fear legitimises the militarisation and regimentation of public life and society and fosters the criminalisation of social problems. Brutal modern-day capitalism has released corporate and military power and throughout the globe we witness particularly savage, cruel, and exploitative regimes of oppression. The planet itself is now under threat. Capitalism has made a virtue out of self-interest and the pursuit of material wealth. Capitalism is devoid of any sense of social responsibility and is driven by an unchecked desire to accumulate capital at all costs. Money now engulfs everything in this new age of disposability. 

Moreover, when coupled with a weakening of movements to counter the generated power of capitalists, the result has been a startling increase in the influence of predatory capitalism, along with inequities in wealth, income, power, and opportunity. Such power breeds anti-democratic tendencies.

In place of the present economic system based on the class ownership of the means of life and their consequent use to provide profits for the owners, we are suggesting that the means of life be vested in the community as a whole and be under its democratic management so that wealth can be produced solely to satisfy human wants. Freed from the barrier of profit, we shall be able to produce in abundance all the things we need. Gone will be the absurd paradoxes of poverty amid plenty, of food being burned while children starve, of building workers being unemployed while people live in hovels. Naturally. socialism can only exist on a world scale.

If the Socialist Party grew strong enough and a majority of voters backed us then we would not form a government, with a prime minister and cabinet, to administer a system where workers and millionaires would still exist. We do not seek political power in order to run capitalism, but to abolish it. So that, if there were a Socialist majority, steps would immediately be taken to end private property in the means of production and to put in its place common ownership and democratic control. The Socialist Party is made up of conscious socialists organised on a democratic basis and so has no leader or leaders.

We have seen that a socialist majority would use its power to change the basis of society from class to common ownership. This of course will amount to a social revolution. But this doesn’t mean we’ll be starling from scratch. Socialists have always maintained that capitalism paves the way for socialism by, for instance, developing the large-scale co-operative production that makes class ownership an anachronism. This large-scale co-operative productive system, including its administrative apparatus, will be the basis of socialist society. The basic function of the state is to be the public power of coercion and for this purpose it is organised as the police, the armed forces, and the prison service. A public power of coercion is necessary only in class society with its built-in class conflict. In Socialism the state will no longer he needed and will be dismantled. However, today the government has itself assumed other, purely technical and administrative, tasks and this aspect of its work is in fact part of the productive system. We have in mind the old Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Transport, or the Ministry of Power. No doubt the administrative apparatus that is these and other ministries can be adapted for use as part of the socialist administration of industry. We can’t go into details (that’s something for the socialist majority) but we can say that the adaptions will be far-reaching— everything to do with finance will go, and the internal structure will have to be reorganised on a democratic basis. What we say about these technical ministries applies equally to the large corporations not part of the government machine. Obviously, there'll be a certain continuity in institutions between capitalism and socialism and at the start we'll have to make do with what we’ve inherited. Common ownership and democratic control will mean that everybody will be socially equal.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Understanding why we fight



Exploitation and oppression goes hand in hand in class societies, having reached new peaks under capitalism. To unravel the real nature of exploitation in capitalism is therefore an important part of the struggle against it. That is what Marxist economics is all about. We are concerned to understand the underlying realities of capitalist economy. We recognise that capitalism is a particular form of human society in which one class owns and controls the means of production while the other major class, the working class, is reduced to the status of sellers of labour-power in order to facilitate the maximum production of exchange values, which in turn facilitates the maximum growth of capital itself. Capital then is an expression of a particular class control, but one that is in perpetual motion as capitals compete with one another, compelling each to grow. This in turn necessitates the exploitation of working people to take the form of the production of values and surplus values. The only common social factor in this whole circuit of social activity is human labour. For that reason Marxists talk of labour as the source of value. Marx referred to socially-necessary labour as being the measure of value. Differences in skills and types of work are reduced to homogeneous units of ‘abstract’ labour or ‘labour in general’ in the same way that capital, in order to expand, abstracts from the concrete or physical nature of goods and services (use-values) reducing them all to values. The principle is simple enough. All the consumed goods and services are themselves die result of labour, living and dead. Workers of higher skills will therefore have consumed greater amounts of socially-necessary labour and accordingly both the value of their labour-power (wages) and the use-value of their labour (work) to capital will be enhanced.

Capitalists demand for the bosses a “fair and just return upon their investments.” But why should the bosses get a return on “THEIR” capital? What do they mean when they say it’s “theirs”?

Such capital is “theirs” only by virtue of property “rights” – “rights” written into law by themselves to maintain the fiction of justice for their confiscation of the produce of labour. The source of such capital is no mystery. Capital represents the stored-up labour of millions of workers accumulated in the hands of the bosses. Nor is the role of such capital any. mystery. “Capital,” the great teacher of socialism, Karl Marx, said, “is dead labour that vampire-like only lives by sucking living labour and lives the more, the more labour it sucks.” With the greed of every capitalist, they believe that the additional labour daily stored up in machines by the sweat and toil of the workers should “return” to the bosses. Once workers realise, however, that the “return” should be to them instead of to the bosses, they will have begun to see the socialist solution. The boss has no other interest in the worker. Meanwhile, however, all the accumulated labour of the workers, stored up in machines, becomes ever more potentially productive of goods which, utilised for the workers, would unfold possibilities of unlimited development. But, capitalism, no matter how it plans and hopes and prays, would never actually be able to do more than drive the worker to the bedrock of subsistence – although there is plenty to provide a featherbed of luxury for all. Only socialism, where the stored-up labour is utilised for the social good, can realise the potentialities of human productivity and spiritual development. Only when accumulated labour belongs to those who produce it – to the worker who turns the wheels.

The decisions which effect the whole of society, such as what to produce, how much to produce, when and where to produce it, and how to use and distribute it are the decisions which affect the total resources of the economy, and the lifestyle and opportunities of everyone within society. Control over these resources and decisions, that is society's management of the economy, is the socialist alternative to capitalism.

Socialising Our Democracy


The goal of the Socialist Party is socialism, not a reformed capitalism. Its tactics must be those that will bring about socialism. Our function, as we see it, is to re-assert the claims of Marxism, as a relevant and meaningful guide to social comment and analysis. Marxism, as a system of ideas, has either been ignored, or dismissed somewhat contemptuously, as an outworn, superseded ideology. Marxism, however, still dominates intellectual debate, and is the most fertile “idea”. The Marxists have the best explanations and the best alternative. Marxist materialism provided a healthy antidote to the mystic misanthropy of many.

Capitalism is a society of privilege, in which one class owns the means of wealth production and employs the other class to work for it. Here is one cause of dispute, for the employing capitalists have interests opposed to those of the workers they employ. Strikes, lock-outs, and so on are the battles in a war which is continually going on between capitalists and workers over the division of the wealth which the workers produce.

We are”, observed Erich Fromm, “a society of notoriously unhappy people: lonely, anxious, depressed, destructive, dependent—people who are glad when we have killed the time we are trying so hard to save” (To Have or to Be?) Life, in short, has become a kind of spectator sport. We move through it, each in his or her own little fragile bubble of existence, buffeted by forces too diffuse to comprehend and too powerful to overcome.

Capitalism subjects its unprivileged class—the working class—to a degrading life of employment, poverty, and frustration. A worker's life is not simply a battle to make ends meet; there are also the warping influences of life in soulless new towns or neurotic suburbs, or in the slums of the big cities. Here there is little chance for human beings to grow up freely and naturally. Capitalism draws some of its most hopeless and vicious criminals from places like these. At the same time, the system is itself a standing incentive to crime. Since it is a society of private property, it denies the vast mass of its people abundance or even security; they are reserved for a minority. But of course some people, perhaps in especially desperate circumstances, try to find a short cut out of the frustrations and humiliations of the unprivileged; they try crime in preference to the humdrum existence of the wage slave in the office or factory. That is why something like 90 per cent of crime consists of offences against property, some of which are accompanied by ruthless violence with cosh or pick-axe handle or gun.

Capitalism is a system of wage slavery notwithstanding the spurious freedom of the wage contract. It cannot be otherwise where the means of production are monopolised by a small minority. It imposes upon us conditions that conflict with our deepest needs.

Capitalism is a world of violence, dispute, and frustration. It cannot provide its people with safety, or plenty, or happiness. None of its religions, none of its philosophers, none of its political parties, has any solution to its problems. They all operate on the assumption that capitalism will continue. What if we assume the opposite—that capitalism is abolished and replaced by socialism?

Socialism is a society in which the means of wealth production are commonly owned. The wealth which is produced will not belong to any class; it will be a common pool to which all human beings will have free access. Thus Socialism will end class divisions, it will end privilege, and it will end poverty.

Socialism is a society in which all humans will have a unity of interests — to co-operate in the production of the world’s wealth. There will be no competition between one group and another for economic supremacy.

Socialism will make its wealth for use and not for sale. This will release society from the restrictions of having to turn out cheap goods for a market. Everything that is produced will be the best we are capable of—we shall not build slums, we shall not make shoddy clothes, we shall not grow sub-standard food.

Socialism is a world without nations and frontiers. It will have one people working together for the common wealth. The crimes and disputes of capitalism will fade into history.

Socialism is necessary now—and we can have it now. All that is needed is for the working class to realise the viciousness and futility of capitalism and to appreciate that it can be ended only by a fundamental social change. Socialism will come after a revolution, as the conscious, democratic act of the world working class.

Socialism will uproot every vestige of the market economy. As socialists, we do not accept the need for some “invisible hand” beyond the control of human beings, to govern human affairs and give them coherence.

For many “market forces” are a code word for misery. The best response to the sadistic whims of the Market-gods is to send packing the market-loving messiahs and abolish the market by bringing the resources of society into common ownership and democratic control. A market-free society is the only sane alternative to the mad-house which we live under. Tinkering with it will be of no practical use; it would be like buying a new suit for Frankenstein’s monster and hoping that newly-clothed a monster he will no longer be. The urgent task before us is to unite to take society away from those whose sole intent is to sacrifice needs for profits. Then, once society is in the hands of all of us, we can begin having free and equal access to the available wealth of this abundant planet.


Monday, May 20, 2019

Revolutionary change is inevitable

Study because we will need all your intelligence,
Agitate because we will need all your enthusiasm,
Organise because we will need all your strength.” Antonio Gramsci,1919

The world is in the midst of change. The capitalists are defending their profits and domination by being ever more ruthless in their policies towards the workers and the dispossessed. The system can no longer feed and house us or provide us with jobs. We, suffering under the misery of stagnant wages and deteriorating condition, those of us un- and under-employed, surviving on State benefits and welfare, in a word, the dispossessed – must fight back if we are to survive. This system offers hunger, homelessness, and the harm of drug and alcohol abuse. We must destroy this system of private property. We have no choice but to create a world free of exploitation and want. In order to do so, we need parties and organisations that can educate. Technology is powerful enough to end hunger, homelessness and all want – but only if it is taken from the exploiters and organised in the interests of those this system has ignored and discarded. Millions upon millions of people in this world are being forced to become economic refugees. We face two choices – either accept this degradation or overturn this system. Yet working people are still apathetic, unawakened and collectively weak. Our desire to make revolution is thwarted by a lack of a socialist understanding.

Capitalism is complex and does not lend itself to simple analysis. Marx had to write a number of volumes to describe its nature. No revolutionary change in society is possible without the active participation and support of the masses. Out of their own interests the exploiting classes blurred the historical role of the people whom they looked upon as dunces and dupes. Historians have recorded only the feats of great individuals, heroes, kings and well-known generals, overlooking the role of the ordinary person acting en-masse. It was Marxism which recognised the common people as the makers of history. The capitalist revolutions only aimed at replacing an exploiting class by another with the regime of exploitation of man by man that relied upon private ownership of means of production remained unchanged. Socialism must wipe out the exploiting regime and that of private ownership of means of production established since thousands of years, and set up the regime of social ownership of means of production in so short a period, we see more clearly the need for the strength and extraordinary creativeness of working people once they realise that they must rise up to make their own history. Only socialism can save us and only a class, the working class, can bring that about.

We are a world of perpetual and all pervasive corruption because of capitalism. Workers alone can draw on our own experience which is not to be got from a book. It comes down to the primitive question – them or us. We the working class: they the class enemy. There are only two kinds of politics – ours or the bosses! They have yet to realise that theirs is a loser.

The only road is the socialist road.

Socialist society will be the first society run according to the planned fulfilment of genuine human needs. The establishment of a socialist, planned economy, based on the needs of the people, will mean the end to the chaos of capitalist production with its lack of planning, repeated crises, unemployment, inflation and criminal waste. Socialist revolution is the most radical break with oppression and exploitation in history. Socialism will release a level of productive forces unknown before in the history of mankind.

Each step in the struggle of class society and each battle of the oppressed against the oppressor has been a step towards socialism. Exploitation, oppression, and degradation will not exist in socialist society. Commodity production, that is, production for sale or exchange on the market, will not exist. The system of wage labour will be abolished and the guiding principle will be “from each according to ability, to each according to need.” The means of production will be held communally and private property will be eliminated. With the abolition of classes and class distinctions, all social and political inequality arising from them will disappear. The conflicts of interest between workers and farmers, town and country, manual and intellectual labour will disappear. As classes will not exist, the state will not be necessary as an instrument of class rule and will wither away.

There is a working class and a capitalist class. There is a class war. Socialism is the expropriation of that capitalist class. The Labourites do not recognise this task. The Socialist Party must be a party in the interests of the working class and it must have a definite objective—Socialism. For inside the socialist society the means of production will be free to provide for the needs of the people. The capitalist profit-makers will have passed into the limbo of history. The working people will be in control of industry. Only a socialist world can give us peace and plenty. Look how the capitalist world totters on the brink of destruction. Wars are a grim reality, expressing the stark cruelty of capitalism. The capitalist parties are as rotten and bankrupt as the system they uphold. For the future they offer only continued insecurity and increasing hardships. The myriad evils of capitalism will disappear only with the destruction of capitalism and the building of socialism. Today it is the ballot that we use against capitalism. Vote, then, for socialism. Vote for the Socialist Party, the only party that keeps the revolutionary banner unfurled in unremitting struggle for world socialism. We, socialists, refuse to join the reformists in leading the workers into the camp of capitalism. Let us overturn the putrid capitalist system in all lands. It is the working class that must overthrow capitalism.

elections provide an opportunity for the capitalist class to test their ability to deceive the masses of the people. Every three years we are asked to choose between capitalist parties offering minor variations of the same diet of falling wages, reduced social services, poverty and desperation for many, and support for wars. The capitalists created parliaments to secure their power after they defeated feudalism centuries ago. They set the rules and know the game inside out. Parliamentary elections are the home-ground of the capitalist class; their representatives are highly resourced, supported by scores of paid organisers, vast advertising budgets, and highly experienced and skilled in manipulation and deceit. In this context, many people feel obliged to support one of the capitalist parliamentary parties as “ the lesser evil” . This is mistaken, however, as it strengthens those forces that are trying to defeat us. The Socialist Party does not shy away from the electoral struggle, however. We do not seek salvation in the false promises of the capitalist parties nor offer false hope of palliatives. We see the election as an opportunity to criticise capitalism, a rallying point for the people. Every political party defends the interest of one class or another in society. On all questions, in every battle, the Socialist Party defends the interests of the working class, and works to prepare its victory over the capitalists. The Socialist Party’s role is to educate, organise and mobilise the working class. The Socialist Party is the organisation that can orient the struggle of the entire class. The Socialist Party can arouse the anger and the righteous rage of the workers to the level of conscious political struggle to put an end to this criminal system. socialism will be the first stage of the development towards communism, a truly class-free society. Socialism will allow the amalgamation of peoples into one, making nation-states themselves unnecessary. Socialism will realise the ideal "from each according to one's ability, to each according to one's need." Classes will disappear, the state will "wither" away, and an exciting new era of human freedom and prosperity will dawn.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

What do the people want? Everything.

A great storm has arisen. Everywhere people are waking up and fighting against the oppression and exploitation which is a daily fact of their lives. The lies of the ruling class are being further exposed each and every day. There is “prosperity” alright – but it is for a handful of rich capitalists – the conditions of the working people are getting worse and worse. The boss-class casts all the burden on the workers – wages stay the same, but profits continue to rise. The situation in health care, housing and government services is rapidly deteriorating. The source of all these conditions and injustices is capitalism. This system of capitalism is set up with one thing in mind – to make the most profits possible for the handful of people who own the big banks and corporations. It is the system under which we, and our parents and grandparents before us, have done all the work. We mine the mines, build the buildings, manufacture all the products: and then get just enough to live on – if we fight hard enough for it! On the other hand the small capitalist class builds up huge fortunes off of our labour and do no work themselves, except running all around the world spending the money that we made for them. The Socialist Party stands for the complete overthrow of the capitalist system. Once it is no longer possible to make a profit from the misery of working people, these problems can be quickly solved.

Workers’ labour power is purchased on the market by the owners of capital. It produces values sufficient to cover wages to maintain a worker and family. The value produced in the remainder of the working week constitutes surplus value, the source of profit. The commodities produced by workers’ socialised labour are privately appropriated by employers and investors. They will continue to be produced so long as they can be sold for profit on the market.
This factor is the cause of the alternating cycle of boom or crisis of capitalism. It is inevitable that sooner or later these social conditions will impel people to organise to end the conflict between the socialised labour process and private ownership of the decisive means of production, the big factories, mines and corporate farms by the establishment of socialism. With socialism, production takes place for people’s use. 

Working people will be guaranteed security, democracy, equality and peace only when our planet is run on an entirely different basis than it is now; only when a socialist system replaces the present capitalist one. The new socialist system would mean that only working people would own the country’s factories and farms and they would plan production and distribution for their own needs. 




Socialism is the ONLY answer!

The capitalist system cannot guarantee the welfare of the people. The polarisation of society is greatly intensifying, with the rich getting richer and the mass of the people getting poorer. The average worker is unable to see any alternative to the profit system. Under capitalism, the worker receives wages which simply go to refurbish him or her for another work-week. In socialism, there will be no wages at all. With socialism, all this is changed. Goods are produced for the use of men and NOT for the profits which they bring in to bosses. Labour power is no longer regarded as a commodity to be bought and sold. It is not purchased at all, let alone purchased at the lowest possible price to keep it alive and able to produce more value. Men, under socialism, will work and produce useful goods. But they will produce these for their mutual needs and for their mutual development. The sufficiency of goods which men and machines can create will be given to men to develop their bodies so that their minds can grow rich in the wealth of human knowledge, and artistic creation. From day to day, from week to week, and from year to year, the spiral of possible individual activity will widen rather than taper, as human productive and intellectual achievements increase. Men and women, no longer fettered by the necessity of working not only for their own material maintenance, but for the bosses’ even more material profits, will be freed to live more fully. The time that each must work will be small, yet the goods produced for all to enjoy will be plentiful. Once the workers have organised to take over political power in this country and introduce a socialist system of production, then more production will mean more for everybody. The more we produce, the more we would eat. Socialism will wipe out the distinction between the owners of the machine and the users of the machine. The working class will become the owners AND operators. The separation between the worker and the means of production introduced by capitalism will be ended by socialism. Until such a socialist system prevails, wage labour will remain a commodity to be bought on the market by capital.

That is why, instead of the conservative motto, “A fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work,” workers must inscribe on their banner the REVOLUTIONARY watchword: “Abolition of the wage system!”

Socialism gives the working class a future, a means to rescue society from the chronic crises, to avert the danger of war and environmental destruction and to achieve the emancipation of all who are oppressed and exploited. The capitalists are a superfluous class who do not contribute anything to progressive mankind. They have only narrow self interest: to preserve its profits and their decaying system. They have nothing to offer working people except more exploitation, increased oppression, and greater threats to their lives and liberties. None of the other political parties has any solution to this impasse which society has now reached. Whether it be Labour, Conservative, LibDems or nationalist, every “solution” they advance actually becomes a factor in further aggravating the problems and crises of the capitalist system. They create fraudulent illusions that the crisis of capitalism can be eliminated within the framework of capitalism, that the capitalist system can overcome its ills and can be reformed. Their policies are designed to maintain the credibility of the capitalist system in the eyes of the people, to divert the people from the revolutionary path, the revolutionary struggle to transform the present order from capitalism to socialism, the only way that the crisis and the ills of capitalism can be eliminated. the fate of the people and the fate of mankind cannot be left to the capitalist oligarchs. They have no solutions to the grave problems facing the people and there is nothing progressive or humanitarian about them.

The ruling class present themselves as the saviours of the planet who have the best interests of the people at heart but nothing could be further from the truth. It is they who stand in the way of and are a fetter on the progress of the society and who are bringing disaster to the people. It is they who are fighting to preserve their obsolete order. It is they who are prepared to plunge the world into devastating climate change. It is they who send their military and weaponry all over the globe for the slaughter of our fellow-workers. It is they who are the enemies of the people. It is they who have committed and continue to commit every kind of crime to secure their maximum profits and to preserve their system of capitalist robbery.

Marx wrote: “And here it becomes evident, that the bourgeoisie is unfit any longer to be the ruling class in society, and to impose its conditions of existence upon society as an over-riding law. It is unfit to rule because it is incompetent to assure an existence to its slave within his slavery... Society can no longer live under this bourgeoisie, in other words, its existence is no longer compatible with society.”

The Socialist Party provides the solution to the present situation in which society finds itself. The task before the Socialist Party, is to arouse, mobilise and organise the working class to play its role in the revolutionary process, to stand and fight with dignity, pride and determination as a class, to rescue society from the inequities of capitalism, emancipate all the people, and end the exploitation of man by man. The working class must wage its day-to-day struggles; if it does not, the workers will be, in the words of Marx, “degraded to one level of broken wretches, past salvation”. But these everyday struggles must not be exaggerated; they must be waged with an objective, with the aim of the movement in mind, with the perspective and task of preparing for the workers' revolution. As Marx elaborated in the Communist Manifesto and other works: the fight for the attainment of the immediate and democratic aims are subordinated to and coordinated with the ultimate aim of the movement, the socialist revolution. The socialist system is not a utopia or dream, as the media tries to suggest. The revolution is the necessity of our time to end the capitalist system of exploitation 




Saturday, May 18, 2019

HUMAN RELATIONSHIP IN SOCIALISM

By nature “human nature” is gregarious, cooperative. It is the class division of society that has produced the ongoing alienation, competition and anti-Nature behaviour. It has criminalised society.

Socialism is the negation of capitalism – the last class society in history. 

In Socialism, gangsters’ cliques will lose their socio-economic breeding grounds. Their anti-social and anti-natural survivalist tricks – “the most violent, mean and malignant passions of the human breast, the Furies of private interest(Marx) will fall into oblivion. Competition for possessions will give way to cooperation for life. Humanity will regain their lost original nature once again by demolishing their “fear of freedom” in a knowledgeable coherent relationship among themselves and with their surrounding nature, moving on to a higher phase of social progress, reaffirming equality, freedom, peace and happiness in unison, in harmony. “The meaning of peace is the absence of opposition to socialism” (Marx). 

According to him, with the dissolution of the power of money, private exchange and private property will cease to exist; “then you can exchange love only for love, trust for trust, etc...” (Marx, Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844).

Marx and Engels held genuine Socialism to be "Communismus, Socialismus, Humanismus" (German Ideology, Chapter 4), 

Engels clearly set out the progression: “State interference in social relations becomes, in one domain after another, superfluous and then dies of itself. The government of persons is replaced by the administration of things, and by the conduct of the processes of production. The state is notabolished”, it withers away.” (Engels, Socialism: Utopian and Scientific

World socialist society will do away with classes and will be organized on a three-tier system of Local, Regional and Global Councils to deal with the administration of all their respective specific responsibilities relating to life, things, relations and problems. Money will go to the museums beside bronze axes. Private property and all its paraphernalia relating to money, wages, profits, private, joint-stock, state, multi-national, transnational and corporate et al. ownerships, and all selfish private interests as against social well-being will be things of the past. Under such a global arrangement of things and affairs of life, the crimes of today will also be a thing of the past. 

In the event of any rarely occurring aberrations on the part of an individual member of society, the response will be educative and social correctional and compassionate counselling. Humans will have elevated themselves to a higher stage in history as a new-born humane species, leaving behind their prehistory of competition and conflict. 

World Socialist Party (India)


Nationalism Divides Workers – Don’t Be Duped

Sturgeon, Scotland's SNP first minister, has said she wants another referendum on Scottish independence within the next two years if the UK leaves the EU.
The Socialist Party is not willing to give our support to political parties endorsing nationalist movements. As socialists we are opposed to the exploitation of the toilers either by foreign or native exploiters. As that exploitation can be ended only by the achievement of socialism through international working-class action, we are opposed to all nationalisms which has capitalist aims and is not deserving of working-class support. We are opposed to the capitalist system wherever it raises its ugly head, but we know that the solution to the workers’ subjective position under it is the same everywhere. The only road to salvation for our fellow-workers is the road to socialism, and they must travel along that road in solidarity and harmony with the members of their class throughout the world. The basic argument of nationalists is that our problems are caused by London government and the political link with England; that the London parties are bound to fail because they work within this system. The only solution, they say, is to set up a separate state in Scotland and Wales.
It is true Labour and the Tories are bound to fail but not because they they work within the so-called United Kingdom. They fail because they work within the economic system of the class ownership of the means of production and the profit motive. As long as they do this, it is the economic system that says what governments shall do, not the other way round, as the miserable failure of the governments shows with their record of continual backsliding on its promises in the face of economic pressures.
If you accept that it is the economic system, and not the political set-up, that causes our problems then the fallacy of nationalist policy is obvious. A separate state would not more solve them than a change of government in London. Any sovereign government in Edinburgh and Cardiff would be in the same position as any in London: trying to see that goods produced in its state sell as cheaply as possible on the world market.
Nationalism is a class outlook that preaches to the people of a nation or national group that regardless of class they have more in common with one another than they do with the people of other nations. Nationalism helps bind the working class to the ruling class of its nation. Internationalism unites the working people of the world against the capitalists. To the extent that the working class holds nationalist ideas, it is allowing its destiny to be determined by the ruling class.

Organisation Within Socialism – Some Thoughts

The purpose of discussing socialism as a practical alternative is to help explain just how simple and straightforward the revolutionary transformation can be. We need to take positive steps to convince our fellow-workers that the mechanism of the revolution and administration inside socialism are simply not that important in the scheme of things: they should present no psychological barrier to someone becoming a socialist. We will keep whatever we can of capitalist structures, unless there is a very good reason for changing it.

We must distinguish between the democratic structures for getting rid of capitalism, and those needed for constructing socialism. The socialist transformation will require to set out to with the intent to capture political power across the globe. But developing decision-making for use inside socialism requires a very different approach. This distinction requires to be very clearly made.
The first is necessarily global and top-down in essence, using whatever democratic structures capitalism leaves us with. It needs to be "one-size fits-all", so that socialism starts with a relatively level playing field in terms of workers' class consciousness across the globe (we cannot have workers in one part of the world looking to workers elsewhere for leadership or guidance). But this issue has been well-examined in the past by the party and recent developments in global communications makes it even less likely that a socialist consciousness will develop in only certain parts of the planet.

The structures of decision-making necessary to implement socialism however are likely to require to be radically different from those inherited from capitalism. We should not confuse the organisation of capitalism with the motive of the market system. Certainly there are some aspects of production, distribution and the structures involved in capitalism which strongly reflect the market system it supports (e.g. armies), however we should be wary of throwing the baby (decision-making structures) out with the bathwater (the market-based motive for production). A healthier perspective is to continually emphasise that capitalism is about social relationships: the social system, the means underpinning capitalism will be fully available to socialism. Specifically in relation to decision-making inside socialism, we should be very wary of rejecting the structures or lines of communication left by capitalism. Sure, the internal structures of many organisations reflect their origin, but the decision-making processes inherited should surely be our first concern. It is a failing of some anarchist thought to fetishise the organisation or hierarchy, as being inherently oppresive or undemocratic. Rather than re-inventing the wheel or developing new decision-making structures separate to and different from those of capitalism, we should by default use the existing systems, unless an alternative is clearly better. When I drive on the A1 road I am following a route first made by Roman armies 2000 years ago: it doesn't however mean I necessarily approve of Rome's imperialist expansion.

Similarly we should view capitalism's decision-making structures as a social tool developed by humans and currently used to smooth the operation of capitalism. In the hands of a socialist majority, a switch will be flicked in this machine, and - with a little tweaking here and there - it will be available to help enable socialism. Socialism will not mean more meetings, committees etc: it will be a simpler version of production and decision-making than inside capitalism. If we don't present these arguments, by default it tends to be assumed that we are proposing some sort of unattractive continual global referendum.

In many ways the Socialist Party emphasise the use a socialist majority may make of existing capitalist structures. Specific organisations are well-identified (eg UN WHO, ILO etc)

Capitalism has four main decision-making systems of interest to socialists:

A. Firstly there is traditional local democracy, such as local parish, district or regional councils. In these, decisions are primarily made by and with regard to the interests of, a local community, defined geographically. Decisions can have a non-quantitative, non-monetary basis (eg visual impact of a new factory; safety concerns regarding a new by-pass)

B. Secondly there is National and Supra-national democratic structures, such as governments, the European Union, and the UN. At these levels, decisions are made with little impact on any particular locality and tend to be monetary-based. This is the level that various sectors of the capitalist class argue over how surplus value should best be apportioned and spent (taxation, wage levels, training and productivity investment, trade and tariff barriers etc). It is understandable that inside capitalism there will be a tendency to try and make these decisions at the highest level possible, where voters have less interest and less clout. Few people are interested (for example) in UK recycling and waste disposal options, but when a company wants to put an incinerator upwind, the village hall is packed out. Fortunately for the capitalist class, they don't need to come to your village hall and present the reasons why a certain level of unemployment should be accepted in the village. I would argue that while we can take some of capitalism's democratic leftovers, we should do so critically, and not blindly mimic the "levels" of decision-making that capitalism provides us with, nor over-emphasise the importance of the "upper" non-local levels of decision-making. I suspect that the more this issue is examined, the more apparent it will become that decision-making inside socialism will involve a huge shift from the global to the regional, and from the regional to the local.

C. Thirdly, there is decision-making within the workplace. Primarily this is regarding how production is organised. This has always been an area of interest to the left-wing, but strikes me as being of little interest now. "Can the workers run industry ?" is an old question that the left (via nationalisation) and the Party have addressed. It appears an outdated question now, one that few people actually ask. The workplace (particularly industrial ones) was the battleground in the 60s and 70s, as various left-wing strands of thought sought to fetishise the worker and the "point of production", and infiltrate trade unions for recruitment purposes. Instead we would argue that capitalism is a social relationship, that workers experience the class struggle in the many different ways, and that the workplace is not necessarily where workers' consciousness can be changed. That no-one really asks the question "can workers run industry ?" anymore, is to me, a measure of the extent to which capitalism has - on the one hand - managed to control workers outside of the workplace through consumerism, and - on the other hand - within the workplace has had to empower workers.

Capitalism does not fit with human beings too easily. As work (at least in the north/west) shifts from banging metal to using a mouse, capitalism needs workers to be able to use their brains, make decisions and take responsibility. This requirement cannot be turned on and off to suit the capitalist, so workplaces are increasingly being organised on a less hierarchical basis, with "quality circles" and upward appraisals (you appraise your manager), and providing control over when and how you work. In some sectors, employers are falling over themselves to offer flexible working with flat management structures ina "fun" workplace environment of cafes and pool tables: workers are responding less and less to simple increased salaries. Little wonder that less doubt is now expressed that workers can actually run industry - it is more apparent than ever before that they already do so.

D. The final decision-making arena is one that is not discussed in the 1985 report, but one which is - in my view - the most important. Most decisions regarding production and distribution are made inside capitalism by companies, firms, etc. Not so much with regard to the qualitative aspects of how a process is undertaken (that is discussed at 'C' above), but rather the simple quantitative issues of how much should be produced.

Of course, inside capitalism this simple issue is massively complicated by the fact that the raw materials coming into your factory, and the product being shipped out, will change in price by the second due to market, and (if you export/import) currency fluctuations, as hundreds of different and anarchic "business cycles" interact.

Nevertheless it should be recognised that the structure of supplier(s)-producer-customer(s) when multiplied up across the economy represents easily the most important decision-making system. (For example, the UN meets once every ten years to discuss Sustainable Development and your local council may employ one officer to address the subject. Yet the businesses in your area will make literally hundreds of decisions every day which will impact on this one issue).

Socialism would not seek to replace this decision-making structure. We should not try and make decisions about production through a separate local-regional-global democratic structure. We would keep companies and firms as they are. People would go and work as normal in them inside socialism. They would look at projections for demand of their product or service, whether directly from "consumers" or other firms ("customers"), they would establish production requirements for the week/month/year, and they would source suppliers and place orders for the raw materials they in turn will require on the basis of quality, turnaround and proximity.

If we put to one side those industries and services which will fall into total or almost complete disuse inside socialism (e.g. advertising, marketing, insurance , banking, military etc), the rest of capitalist production will carry on, if not quite seamlessly, then at least in much the same way as before. The only differences being how the factory or firm or office is organised internally (which would be left to the people themselves to sort out), and the absence of wages or prices. Companies would switch suppliers, and win or lose contracts on the basis of the quality and turnaround they can provide for their product. Resource depletion, transport costs and energy usage factors of production would start to be taken into account in a way that capitalism can only talk about. Decision-making would be devolved to the "consumer". The market system does empower the individual when it makes him/her a consumer, but only of course, if they have some money. Socialism would not discard this: the individual "consumer" in a money-free society will ultimately make the decisions on production, articulated through their demand when they take from the common stores of goods, according to self-defined need.

Many defenders of "free-market" (if there is such a thing) capitalism, call it an efficient system. And it is - compared to centralised state capitalism. Far better to have individuals deciding what products and how much they want to consume, than some central committee. The only problem with capitalism of course is that - expressed through money - some individuals have many more opportunities to make decisions than others do. While billions have $1 per day to vote with, Bill Gates and Richard Branson and a few others have millions of dollars-worth of nice votes to make.

Many non-socialists (and socialists for that matter) have expressed the view that socialist production will be a matter of meetings, referenda, committees etc. I would argue that we should not be seeking to establish democratic structures to decide and then dictate production levels throughout the "economy". Millions and millions of self-organised, self-defined units of production which occupy specific niches in the global economy, are already in operation inside capitalism, waiting to be transformed by the missing element (class-conscious workers) into the means of production and distribution that will define socialism.

These production units will not really have any power though - they will be responding to consumer demand. Do we want to go down the route of establishing local committees on glass production etc? Instead, the responsibility will be left to the producers (who are of course also consumers in their own right it should be remembered).

Where strategic decisions - rather than ones merely responding to demand - require to be made, (or there is a significant increase or decrease in demand) this may require production units in a particular industry to make decisions among themselves. Again this is not wishful thinking - this mimics what happens inside capitalism, with industry trade bodies. However rather than being mouthpieces for the capitalist class of that sector, they will be making decisions on behalf of the consumer to try and meet the changing demand requirements in that locality.

Society will delegate responsibility then, for glass production, to the relevant production units (sand quarrying, glass factory, general distribution networks). There will however be some areas where society will want to retain ultimate control. Two scenarios where decision-making regarding production will require "external" input are discussed here.

Firstly, perhaps increased demand for glass requirements will require more workers, or diversion of natural resources from another sector of industry. This could be achieved by diktat, by means of a council decision (at local, regional or global levels depending on the geographical scope of the problem). Alternatively however we should not forget the chaotic, self-organised decision-making model that is underpinned by the consumer. This is a highly democratic user-defined decision-making model that capitalism has claimed for itself but in fact operates on a distorted basis. Consumers in such a situation will also be far more free than they are inside capitalism, to make decisions based on more than just their material needs (e.g. for beer in a glass bottle) , and will switch to non-glass products if glass is getting scarce. Inside capitalism the consumer is just that and nothing else. In socialism though they are also producers in social production (e.g. factories), they are also producers in another sense - of waste. Recycling is a sensible measure and (again) one that capitalism finds extremely difficult to develop to any real extent, but which will occur where needed inside socialism as the consumer (informed and involved in society) feeds back decreased consumption of glass and increased recycling.

The second scenario where decision-making regarding production cannot just be left to the producers, is where local issues impact. The siting of a factory, the construction of a road etc may have positive impacts for society as a whole, but will have negative ones for those who have to breathe in traffic fumes or have the visual impact of a factory. Delineating the plusses and minuses of such developments, and trying to ensure that the benefits and the disadvantages impact fairly is a massive problem inside capitalism and it will remain a problem inside socialism. The way of resolving the issue will be the same - by means of decision-making at the appropriate level - local (for those affected by proximity) versus regional/global (for those affected as consumers). Of course, what causes so much of a ("Nimby") problem inside capitalism is the emotional attachment placed by someone on their property, the potential "amenity value" financial impact (e.g. reduction in value of their house), and the perception that someone is making money at their expense. While socialism would avoid or reduce some of these concerns, it is important to be realistic and recognise that it would not remove them all.

Brian Gardner
Glasgow Branch

Summer School

Summer School 2017

Summer School 2017  21st – 23rd July Fircroft College, Birmingham   These days, con...